WILMINGTON — President Trump ordered a military strike on a Syrian airfield last night in response to a chemical weapon attack earlier in the week that killed as many as 70 civilians.
At a brief conference, Trump said, “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.” Trump said there was no question Syria had used chemical weapons on its own people.
On Thursday night, 59 Tomahawk missiles – unmanned guided missiles launched from U.S. Navy warships – targeted a Syrian airbase. Trump claimed it was the airbase that had launched the chemical weapons attack.
Congressman David Rouzer, who represents New Hanover and Brunswick counties, made the following statement to Port City Daily:
“Assad is a brutal dictator who, once again, is responsible for a tortuous attack killing his own people, including innocent children and women. I applaud President Trump’s decision to conduct devastating air strikes against an airbase in Syria, and I salute the brave soldiers who carried out this mission.”
The Congressman added, “President Trump has sent a clear message to the Assad regime, Russia and our other enemies, such as Iran, North Korea, Al Qaeda, and ISIS, that our country will not tolerate such acts of evil. In order to keep Americans safe and protect our own homeland from these same type of chemical weapon attacks in the future, we must continue to show this type of leadership, decisiveness and resolve.”
Rouzer did not take questions on whether Trump had consulted Congress or whether the President planned to ask for Congress to authorize military action in Syria.
Congressman Walter B. Jones released a statement on Friday calling Trump’s actions “This is a dangerous precedent for the president to set for the new administration.”
Port City Daily reached out to Jones for further comment. Jones said, “when we take it upon ourselves to go into a sovereign nation without Congress, that’s a mistake. When you’re making a major foreign policy decision that involves military action, whether it’s a missile strike or any other action, I think that needs to be vetted by the Congress. To paraphrase James Madison, it’s the legislative branch that will decide if the country goes to war, not the executive branch.”
A vocal critique of former President Barack Obama’s actions in Syria and Libya, Jones said he was disturbed by Trump’s similar moves.
“Back in 2013, Trump – who wasn’t even a candidate at the time – was very critical of the previous administration. So I’m concerned that he is now going down the same path. Obama said at the time that he had contacted a few congressional leaders [before taking action against Libya], which is not the same as going through Congress. As for Trump, I’m questioning whether he contacted anybody in Congress. And that’s dangerous.”
Congressman Jones said he was not aware of any immediate plans in Congress to vote on an authorization of military force. Jones said members of Congress, many of whom will return home for the next two weeks, will be watching the situation as it unfolds, though Jones hopes to see international involvement.
“I’m more like Ron Paul than I ever dreamed I would be, but I have to ask, where was England? Where were their missiles?Where are the other European nations? It’s so often only America that enters into these situations and that’s often what gets us into trouble,” said Jones.